March jobless rate 8.8 percent in Mesa County

Mesa County’s unemployment rate was lower in March than it was in February, but not for the reason some may have hoped.

While the county’s unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point month-over-month to 8.8 percent in March and the county dropped 308 residents from the unemployment roster, Mesa County did not make a net gain in jobs last month. Instead, the number of employed county residents dipped by 510 people month-over-month to 70,653 in March.

Mesa County Workforce Center Administrator Jessica Narler said the squeeze in both job-seekers and job-holders is likely the result of a combination of people falling off the end of long-term unemployment benefits and some people leaving the still-struggling area to seek work in states that have recovered faster from the recession.

Like Mesa County, Colorado’s unemployment rate dipped three-tenths of a percentage point due to a drop in both employment and unemployment numbers. Colorado’s unemployment rate went from 7.6 percent in February to 7.3 percent in March.

Indecisive, inclement weather has postponed spring’s typical seasonal hiring boost, Narler said. But she hopes that will change soon.

“If we can just get through this next round of seasonal hiring, at least we’ll have some people working,” she said.

The Workforce Center posted 281 job orders in March, up from 244 in February. Many of those job postings are for part-time work.

“If people can get two part-time jobs, they can make it work. That may be our new reality,” Narler said.

Delta, Garfield and Montrose counties experienced a decline month-over-month in unemployment too. All three counties experienced a decrease in unemployment and an increase in the number of job-holding residents.

Delta County’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.7 percent in February to 8 percent in March.

Montrose County’s unemployment rate dipped half a percentage point month-over-month to 10.3 percent in March.

Garfield County went from 7.8 percent unemployment in February to 7.6 percent unemployment in March.


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